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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37

Local Developments

Local Developments.

To recognise little states in our towns and counties would be but the first step of organisation. All healthy organisation has and needs a power of internal growth. The larger cities are already resolved into townships and into wards; the counties into hundreds; but with numbers so great as London, and many trades so peculiar, numerous exceptive arrangements would arise.

If each town had full power to tax itself for public purposes, a thousand civilising ameliorations would be introduced. If local institutions had been kept up in energy the unhealthy buildings which now exist could never have arisen, nor many other urban evils.

The stilted meeting of a moderate number of people in a Wardmote would make their faces familiar to one another, and give to the richer orders a distinct acquaintance with a definite portion of the community. This is with us the more urgently important, because (unhappily) religion has ceased to be a bond to our nation. In fact a congregation that meets in a large town church finds little in it to develop mutual acquaintance.

Far different would be the result of meeting for discussion of practical business in a wardmote. Out of this would rise page 74 numerous other relations. In antient Greece or Rome to be fellow-tribesmen or fellow-clansmen was a bond of union besides the closer tic of clientship. The last is the bond in which our domestic servants ought to be joined to us.

(Professor Newman.)